Friday, January 30, 2009

The only Super Bowl preview that matters....sorta

ESPN Magazine, you continue to antagonize me. A few weeks ago you published Rick Reilly’s discovery of beer pong, which is only slightly less dated than writing about discovering HDTV.

But now you’ve crossed the line: plagiarism! I’m on to you, ESPN Magazine. Don’t think I didn’t notice these “10 Commandments” of heckling, which seems a little too close to my RTS piece on the very same topic a few months ago.

I know I’m good, ESPN, but stealing from me is wrong. Dead wrong. Like UPS, you’ve made a powerful enemy.

Anyway, speaking of Reilly and ESPN Magazine (segue alert!), I have a problem with his current piece. (Note from Chris: I'm scared anytime Graham starts talking about Rick Reilly's "piece.")

Quick synopsis: Guy in Philly loses his job. Guy is sad. Guy is a superfan. Guy decides to boost self-esteem by throwing himself into his teams. Guy sneaks into World Series game. Guy rejoices when Phillies win World Series. Guy sneaks onto field to join celebration. Guy sneaks into locker room with team. Guy is happy.

Reilly celebrates this guy as the embodiment of what being a fan is all about. I say he represents everything wrong with fans.

I love sports as much as anyone, but the second you let your team’s fortunes determine your self-worth, you’re done in my books.

Look, I love the Seattle Mariners as much as anyone. Every year they kick my teeth in, and every year I come back for more. I hope to live to see the day when they win the World Series, and if they do, I’ll celebrate as much as anyone.

But it won’t affect my sense of self-worth one iota.

Look, I’ve been unemployed. Very recently even. I know it sucks to wake up every day with no real purpose. I know it sucks to feel like you’re not contributing anything. But the success of my sports teams does nothing to change any of that. It’s a nice distraction, but that’s it.

Here’s the other thing that bugs me about the guy: he crashed a party he had no business being a part of. Look, as fans, we play a role, but we’re not part of the team. We don’t throw pitches, we don’t shoot threes and we don’t catch touchdowns. When a team wins a championship, they have their celebration, and we fans have ours. And frankly, we have no business being in their locker room, or on their field.

Those celebrations mark the culmination of a grueling journey from training camp through an endless season of games, bus rides, flights and hotels, injuries, in-house drama, trades, the playoffs, and ultimately the title. Fans aren’t there for 99% of it, and don’t belong there for that moment.

Lionel Rodia is no better than a guy crashing a wedding to score a free meal. He shouldn’t be admired, he should be pitied.


Oh yeah, the football game. Let’s say Pittsburgh wins 24-21.


I couldn’t be less excited about the Super Bowl. I haven’t seen a funny beer commercial in years, I am completely perplexed by the Drinkability campaign, and with the economy in the crapper, every commercial I see will make me feel bad for the 2,852 people that got laid off so that company could afford a 30 second spot in the middle of the 3rd quarter of a 20-10 stinkfest.

I’m also putting the over/under of truck commercials at 27 and car commercials at 22. By the way, I’m not in the market for either. If I hear that damned five-dollar footlong commercial just once, I might break my TV. Why am I even watching, you ask? It’s the f-ing Super Bowl.

I’ve been wrong about Arizona over the course of the entire playoffs. I’ve been right about Pittsburgh so far. I’ve also agreed with Graham every step of the way. He’s got Pitt winning. I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I just don’t see Kurt Warner making it all 4 quarters. Pittsburgh smothers and kills just about every QB they play. You’re telling me that a frail old man is going to lead his team to victory? I say there’s at least a 20% chance of Matt Leinart entering the game. Anytime this guy could potentially be called on by your team, I’m going the other way.

Pittsburgh wins 24-13.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Unintentional comedy commercial

Is this the worst commercial of all time? I absolutely love it.

“My new computer started out fast, REALLY FAST, now it’s just kinda fast.”

I love the techno music that starts in, presumably to get me pumped up about their product. Is your computer slow? Well then buy this product! Feel the energy of this beat!

Next, they have the “simulation” that shows how fast a download is after you use their software. Man, that simulation looks so legitimate. Look at how fast that computer was! Where can I buy this?

The guy at the end of the commercial has to be the worst actor in the history of TV. I bet he has the following exchange at parties:

Person 1: You look familiar.
Finally Fast Actor: Uh, I think I just have one of those faces.
Person 1: No, I mean, I’m positive I’ve seen you somewhere before. Dave, doesn’t he look familiar?
Dave: Oh, holy crap, it’s the Finally Fast guy!
Person 1: No way!
Finally Fast Actor: Uh, I, uh, don't know, uh, what you're talking about.
Dave: (in retarded voice) My computer is fast. Finally! Finally!
Person 1 high fives Dave. Finally Fast Actor walks away shaking head.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber

I thought Bromance was the pinnacle of terrible reality television. I thought it contained the absolute-zero of mankind. That only lasted for about a month. There's a new show in town that's taken it to a whole other level of stupidity and unintentional comedy. It's never too late to catch up. Watch the trailer and start recording it on your DVR.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Groundbreaking RTS Story: Blockbuster Sucks

I went to Blockbuster last week and rented Eagle Eye. I don’t know which was dumber, going to Blockbuster or watching the damn movie. Both were terrible decisions.

I know that this blog is about 2 years too late, but if Graham can post about a Rick Reilly story a week after the fact, I can extol the virtues of Netflix in 2009. I know I’m not adding any new information to the mix here, but I still know some people who don’t use Netflix so I might as well let them know how stupid they are for going to Blockbuster even once or twice a month compared to using the ‘Flix (as they call it in the hood.)

When I rented Eagle Eye, I paid $4.69 for it at Blockbuster. I assume this is the going rate for new releases. Not only did I pay almost $5 for the movie, but I had 48 hours to watch and return it, else I’d be charged a late fee, or re-checkout fee, or whatever the hell they call it. It’s another $2.25 per day that it’s late. (Yeah, I just called to ask that one question that took about 15 seconds, yet Blockbuster put me on hold for 5 minutes to answer it. I guess Monday morning at 10:17 a.m. is their rush hour.)

Anyway, I think I returned the movie on time (whoever really knows with their random return by noon, return by midnight, what exactly is 2 nights confusion), so the best case scenario is that it cost me $4.69 for a new release. What a deal!

Now, on to Netflix. I’ve been a member for about 2 years now and I just did the math on the movies I watched over the course of 2008. I got 120 movies from Netflix in 2008 and paid $195.57. That breaks down to $1.63/movie. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new release, a TV show, an old movie, etc. $1.63/movie. Even if I went to Blockbuster and only rented old movies, it’d still be at least $2/movie. Now I know I look like a complete loser for watching 120 rented movies over the course of a year (not taking into account the other 50 times I went to the actual theater), but take it with a grain of salt. There doesn’t get to be much cheaper entertainment than $1.63 for about two hours of entertainment. Even Patty in Camden County costs more.

Also, Netflix has twice the selection of Blockbuster. Every Blockbuster is finite. Netflix doesn’t seem to be. The only place I can find a movie that Netflix doesn’t have is at the local cult movie shop, not Blockbuster. Don’t even ask about this obscure movies. I’d rather not talk about my desire to watch half of these. Plus, I can rent parts of a TV show instead of having to go to Blockbuster and rent an entire season and return it in 5 days, or whatever they make you do. (To be honest, I’m not even sure about Blockbuster’s TV show policy because half the time a TV show that ended two years ago is still a new release and costs $5 for three episodes, and the rest of the TV shows cost about the same amount for an entire season, yet you only have 5 days to watch all 10-15 episodes.)

There are some drawbacks to Netflix, but none that I can’t deal. Sometimes extremely popular new releases aren’t available right away, but it’s no problem for me as long as movies keep coming. I don’t have to see Pineapple Express the week it comes out. I guess some people do. I’d rather wait a week or two, if necessary, and be able to keep the movie as long as I want, as opposed to driving to Blockbuster, hoping the movie is in, paying $4.69, watching it and returning it in 48 hours. That’s just me though. Some people might find that’s more convenient. Just like some people find it more convenient to wait in the drive-through line for 20 minutes as opposed to parking the car and walking inside Chick Fil-A and being out of there in 5 or less.

Now here’s the thing I guess that really gets me about people that use Blockbuster, even sporadically. Say you rent a movie twice a month. If you rent two new releases, that’s about $10, assuming you return both of them on time (which no one ever does). For the same amount, you could get the Netflix one-at-a-time plan. You could essentially watch 1-2 movies a week for the same price. Maybe you don’t have time to watch 1-2 movies a week, but you could get the same movie delivered to your house and sit on it for 3 weeks and it’d still be worth it. It literally drives me crazy to think that people are doing this. It drives me crazy to think that I know all this, yet I ended up renting Eagle Eye last week because I was too stupid to wait on my next Netflix movie or watch one of my own DVDs. It drives me even crazier that I choose Eagle Eye. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking? I can’t even be mad at the people involved in the movie. It was my own damn fault for even giving it a chance. Sorta like how Julia Roberts must’ve felt when she divorced Lyle Lovett. (I'm not below a mid-'90s pop culture reference.)

Lastly, even if someone is going to watch movies sporadically, pay-per-view makes more sense than Blockbuster. It saves you the trouble of having to actually drive somewhere, it’s always available, and it’s the same price. Why didn’t I do this? Once again, I have no clue. The moral of the story is this: Blockbuster is for morons, I went to Blockbuster, I’m a moron. Like I said, there wasn’t any new information in this post.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have We Got a Website for You!

Normally I wouldn’t even admit that I’ve visited the Lifetime Movie Network website, but alas, I had to today as part of my job function (don’t even ask).

Regardless, I thought everyone should take a look and see some of the wonderful things going on at

My favorite part of the entire site is the poll on the left hand side of the page. It poses the question, “What is your favorite kind of movie ending?” The choices are:
A happy ending
A shocking twist
Something realistic
A tragic end

First off, couldn’t some of these things be similar? For instance, the ending of Forrest Gump could classify as a happy ending (Forest and his son), something realistic (a, um, well-traveled woman contracts Aids) and a tragic end (she dies). So how could I even vote on this poll if I even wanted to? Second, how many women are going to choose a tragic end? How many movies aimed at women end this way? .02%? I’m going to wager that a tragic end has less than 1% of the vote. Here I go….suspense building…drama ensuing…4%. A tragic ending got 4%! I’m guessing that the only tragic end in a Lifetime movie involves a store being out of chocolate when Aunt Flo is in town.

Also on the website are some previews of upcoming programming. How much money would it take for you to watch, What Color is Love - An interracial love affair turns into a messy custody battle over a mixed-race child. Starring Roger Cross, Jennifer Finnegan and Doug Savant. I’d rather watch a montage of the Memphis Grizzlies fourth quarters over the past three seasons than watch this. That’s saying something.

I think I’d prefer to watch True Story Thursdays - Every Thursday in the month of September, watch movies of murder, mayhem, triumph and defeat - based on real-life stories! It’s always so much better when I watch murder stories that are based on real-life! It’s so uplifting! I’m one of the 4% that loves a tragic end!

This is only a brief snippet of the excitement at the Lifetime Movie Network website. I could visit the Fan Club link and “Talk about all of your Lifetime faves with other movie lovers.” Or I could try the Lifetime Movie Mash-up where I could “create your own Lifetime movies! Pick scenes from your favorite Lifetime movies, starring all of your favorite stars! Create mash-ups, watch your friends' movies or watch full-length movies online.”

Can someone please tell me who my choices are from the list of stars of Lifetime movies? You mean I can make my own movie mash up with the clichéd abused wife and her new lover played by Eric Roberts? Really, I can do this? Sign me up!

Yeah, it’s another exciting day here at RTS. Next week I’m going to try to do a running diary of an Oprah episode with a knife in my other hand. I wonder how that will end.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Way to go Subway!

You know who I wish I was right now? I wish I was friends with one of the guys playing the construction workers in those Subway five dollar foot long commercials.

Because I’d like be sitting there on a Sunday, watching football with the crew, then be able to get up and punch the guy in the arm every time that stupid ad came on. Because I can’t handle it.

Chris touched on it, but I need to get it off my chest: Subway is ruining my enjoyment of sports. Those damn commercials make me want to drive to my nearest Subway, walk in, grab a bread knife and slice my wrists so I bleed all over the fixings bar.

Look, they’re not the first commercials to drive me crazy. Toyota’s Saved By Zero campaign almost led me to throwing myself into the windshield of the nearest speeding Tundra.

John Mellencamp’s “This is Our Country” almost caused me to go back to Canada, until I learned there was a Canadian version of that song. I haven’t been that disappointed in my country since Nickelback made it big.

But these Subway ones are different. For one, I like Subway. I’ve been a Subway customer for 15 years. I refuse to eat at Quizno’s out of loyalty to Subway. So seeing these ads, it’s like a friend letting me down by not paying back a loan, or jamming out on plans, or marrying a girl who gets pregnant and wants to have the baby at home via hypnosis without drugs.

Plus, the song is just insipid. It was bad enough when they had the jingle with professional singers and everything, but now they’ve got regular people singing it off-key. Personally, I’d like to know how much they’re getting paid, because then I’ll finally know how much human dignity costs.

I’m not naïve. I know the goal of advertising isn’t to be good, but to be memorable. So in that regard, you could say the Subway ads are a success. A post on this blog alone is worth untold millions in advertising.

I just wish these giant corporations with unlimited advertising budgets could make a little more effort to make good commercials, instead of bad ones. I mean this guy did it, and this ad looks like it was shot in his store with a camcorder.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Geoff Calkins or a monkey, you decide

Why do I read Geoff Calkins? What causes me to do something so stupid? There’s a greater chance that I’d get more out of watching Oprah every day than reading Calkins articles. His columns have one of the three following effects on me: there’s a 33 percent chance he writes something sappy that I could care less about (the Rick Reilly column), there’s a 33 percent chance he writes about football or college basketball which are alright, and there’s a 33 percent chance he writes about the Grizzlies which make me angry beyond normalcy. Seriously, I get angry, not just a little mad, or perturbed, or annoyed. It causes me legitimate anger. Why do I do this? Why can’t I just look away? I suppose it’s the same reason that this video has 6.5 million + views on youtube.

The latest Calkins stinkbomb can be found here. Calkins talks about how the Grizzlies trading Mike Conley would be similar to the Celtics trading Chauncey Billups in the late ‘90s. Wow, the Celtics traded Billups, they must be idiots! What the hell were they thinking, is the Calkins line of thinking. They were thinking what several other teams thought as well, that Billups wasn’t that good. Not only did Boston trade him, but Denver didn’t want him, Orlando flat out released him, and Minnesota didn’t resign him. The guy didn’t become an All-Star until he had been in the league about 10 seasons. If the Grizzlies trade Conley and he becomes an All-Star 8 years from now, I think I can live with that. Calkins fails to mention all of these facts, naturally. Then again, the guy thought that Darius Miles was a Portland lottery pick, so he might not even be aware that Chauncey Billups was anything other than an All-Star.

Calkins then says, “They traded him (Billups) for an older point guard and beads.” Yeah, by older point guard, he meant 27-year-old (ancient!) Kenny Anderson, who had a decent career (and an All-Star appearance) at that point.

Next Calkins brings up the Celtics trading rookie Joe Johnson for Rodney Rodgers. While this trade appears lopsided, the Celtics were willing to trade a 20-year-old rookie who was averaging 6.3 ppg for a veteran big-man who could provide immediate help. Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace even admitted that he had regrets about the trade, but that they were making a playoff push and needed immediate help.
Trades like this happen all the time, where a team making a playoff push trades future assets for immediate help. (See Roy Williams being traded to the Cowboys for a recent example).

As a matter of fact, read this quote from coverage of a Chris Wallace press conference, "What stuck out about Wallace for many at Monday’s press conference was his frank nature. He admitted that in retrospect, trading Joe Johnson instead of Kedrick Brown was 'a mistake', but that the players they got in return helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals that year. It’s a fact many fans who have been critical of the hire forget."

Johnson didn’t become an All-Star until his 6th season in the league, after another team, Phoenix, let him go as well. Calkins doesn’t mention any of this, because, once again, it doesn’t back up his point, which is, uh…I don’t know.

Calkins then says that Conley’s trade value is about as low as it could be at this point. The Grizzlies would be trading a lottery pick (Conley) for a young point guard who has actually performed better (Ramon Sessions) and a lottery pick (Joe Alexander). I wouldn’t say his value is that low. I think it might be a little lower if Conley tore his ACL in tonight’s game, don’t you think Geoff?

Next, Calkins says that pointing the blame at Grizzlies Coach Marc Iavaroni for Conley and Rudy Gay’s poor performance isn’t what needs to be done. He says the finger needs to be pointed at the Grizzlies owner, Michael Heisley, because he won’t pay what it takes to get a top level coach. While I can’t find exact coaching salary numbers, I do know that Marc Iavaroni was one of the most coveted assistant coaches out there when the Grizzlies hired him. Now Iavaroni isn’t making the same amount as the top tier coaches, but he wasn’t hired for cheap either, especially given he was hired as a rookie coach. It’s not like Heisley can just throw some money around and get Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich in here. What does Calkins want exactly?

Calkins point, I think, is that the Grizzlies shouldn’t trade Conley because Chauncey Billups became an All-Star about 10 years after the Celtics traded him, and Joe Johnson became an All-Star about 5 years after the Celtics traded him. So if the Grizz trade Conley, he could become an All-Star sometime in the next 5-10 years, and that would be terrible. And I guess his secondary point is that Conley isn’t playing well right now because the team is dysfunctional and that isn’t really Conley’s fault (even though Conley is part of said team) and that isn’t the coach’s fault (even though he’s in charge of said team). Make sense? Of course not, it’s Geoff Calkins!

I recommend that Geoff Calkins be banned from writing about the Grizzlies and instead The Commercial Appeal should send a monkey and a laptop to cover the Grizzlies. This way, there's a .001% chance that something intelligent might come out it, which is better than Calkins chances. Plus, there's a 1000% chance it won't make me mad. How do we make this happen?


Ho-Hum, Another RTS Playoff Preview

So far through eight games, Chris and I have managed to pick each game exactly the same. What riveting drama here at RTS.

“So who do you like this week?”
“Me too!”
“No way- awesome!”

We’re not even planning this. It’s not like when we worked together at the Grizzlies, we called each other up in the morning and agreed on matching outfits to freak people out. I promise we didn't do that. I still maintain it’s the reason Jerry West left for a life of solitude in West Virginia.

But seriously, what the hell? How is it possible for two people to agree on the outcome of eight consecutive games? This is approaching the time I went 0-16 one week in a pick ‘em pool. That was truly magical.

The sad thing is, we’re not even doing that well. If we were 8-0, that’d be one thing. But we’re 4-4 (or so I think, I’m too lazy to look it up. That’s how much I care about you, the reader).

So where does this leave us? I’ll tell you where: freaked the hell out, that’s where.

Anyway, on to the picks:

Philadelphia at Arizona
I took Philadelphia over Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs because, hell, someone had to win, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of betting on Tarvaris Jackson. And I took them over the Giants because, and I quote, “the Giants just seem a little too pleased with themselves”.

In other words, in both games of the playoffs so far, I didn’t really pick Philly as much as I picked against their opponent. And guess what, I’m doing it again.

I don’t care if they did dismantle the Panthers last week, I just refuse to believe that come Sunday, I’ll be living in a world where the Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. Then again, I already live in a world where Mickey Rourke could win an Oscar for portraying a pro wrestler, so who the hell knows.

But I don’t see it. I think this Philly team is peaking at the right time. When you consider the confluence of events that was necessary in Week 17 for them to even make the playoffs, and then taking down the defending champs, I just think it’s shaping up as their year in the NFC. Eagles it is.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Before the season, if someone had told you there was a legitimate chance the Super Bowl would pit the Arizona Cardinals against a team starting Joe Flacco at quarterback, would you have believed it? And more to the point, would you even watch the game?

At any rate, I’m taking Pittsburgh, and here’s why.

In 18 games this season, Baltimore has had a 100-yard rusher exactly three times: against Miami, Houston and a Dallas team that was in the midst of imploding. Are they going to make it four against a Pittsburgh defense that’s just as good as theirs? No. So now you’re counting on Joe Flacco to win the game for you.

And is Joe Flacco going to march into Pittsburgh and single-handedly pick apart the Steelers defense in the AFC title game?

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s running game is peaking at the right time, and they’re actually smart enough to throw away from Ed Reed. And, realistically, they’ll really only need 17 points to win this game. So I’m going with Pittsburgh.


Bill Simmons asked a guy on his podcast to compare the four remaining playoff teams to The Sopranos characters. Since nothing of me is original (even that line), I’ll use the same concept and compare the last four playoff teams to The Office characters.

They’ve got to be Michael Scott. They’re the biggest name left on this stage. They’ve got to be considered the favorites. And you know what, with all the Big Ben concussions piling up, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start acting like the Dunder Mifflin Area Manager sometime soon, mistaking a concierge for a prostitute and throwing lame parties in his hotel during Super Bowl week.

If I said anything other than Creed Bratton, I’d be doing both a disservice. They’re scary. They’re aloof. They never score. They’re always on the defensive. I wouldn’t be shocked if Creed killed a man, just like Ray Lewis.

The Cardinals are Dwight Schrute. Kurt Warner seems to have the same straight-laced adherence to the rules that Dwight possesses. He also seems like he gets laughed at a lot in the locker room. Plus, the Cardinals went into a multiple week tailspin after qualifying for the playoffs, just like Dwight did after Angela got engaged. Lastly, head coach Ken Whisenhunt used to be an assistant in Pittsburgh, just like Dwight is assistant to the regional manager, Michael Scott.

They’ve got to be Jim Halpert. They’re plain, ordinary. Neither has any qualities that make them stand out, but they’ve somehow made it work for them. The Eagles have also pined over the Super Bowl trophy for multiple seasons, coming close quite a few times, just like Jim did with Pam. At this point, the only way the Eagles will keep the analogy alive is with a Super Bowl title.

And with that, the picks: Pittsburgh takes out Baltimore, just like Michael Scott could fire Creed if he had to. Philadelphia torments Arizona, just like Jim does with Dwight. Sometimes my friends, it’s just that easy.

So there you have it. Every single game picked the exact same way so far. And what’s even better, Pittsburgh vs. Arizona will end up being the Super Bowl, we’ll both pick Pitt and this entire playoff preview will have been an entire waste of time for us to write, for you (Hi Dad!) to read, and our first $1 bet to end in a draw.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Commerical Appeal slays me once again

Here’s the letter to the editor I submitted to the local Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal.

I resent the errors I have to read on a continual basis in your paper. I really do. You are the major local newspaper in the Mid-South. You have professional journalists getting paid for this. They went to school for this, I presume. And what do I get, content errors. I could live with some grammatical errors or typos from time to time, but can’t we at least get the content, the meat, correct?

I’ll start with Geoff Calkins' article today where he comes to praise Darius Miles and bury the Memphis Grizzlies (once again). Before Calkins points the finger at the Grizzlies organization for being, as he says, “It's terrible. Just awful. An increasingly hideous blend of mismatched parts and mishandled talent,” maybe he should look at the paper he works for.

Calkins wrote, “Especially the bit involving Miles, a former Portland lottery pick who has been at the center of a delicious little legal controversy.”

Seriously Mr. Calkins, you couldn’t get a basic fact about the centerpiece of your article right? It takes about, oh 5 minutes of research, to confirm that Miles was the 3rd pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers. It’s not like he was drafted by the Clippers and then shipped to Portland immediately. He played for the Clippers for 2 seasons and Cleveland for 1.5 more before he went to Portland. Most guys that cover the NBA on a regular basis would remember this, but hey, it’s somewhat obscure, so you’re okay to forget. But check the facts please. Maybe this isn’t your fault, maybe it’s the copy editor. Either way, some might say that “it’s terrible. Just awful.” However, I don’t think the problem is mishandled talent in this case.

I’m sure that the response would be that nobody’s perfect and that it’s just a minor slipup. But this isn’t the exception to the rule for The Commercial Appeal. If you read Ron Tillery’s column, “Grizzlies’ Mike Conley still on trading block” from Sunday, January 11, he originally misspelled former Tiger Chris Massie’s name (until I corrected him in the comments section). Once again, how much research would it take to get the name right? If you type Chris Massey into google, you get an actor born in 1990. If you type in Chris Massie, you get a basketball player. Is this really that complex?

I think my problem is that I hold your paper and your writers to a higher standard than you do. In an age when the newspaper industry is fighting with bloggers (like myself) for each reader’s attention span, the reason people come to you is because you are the professionals. You aren’t the guys that are doing this on the side, that treat it like a hobby. This is your full-time job, your livelihood. Can you please confirm that with a little more attention to detail?


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pop Culture Waste Site

So I’m sitting in Sports Clips yesterday waiting patiently to get my hair cut for the first time in 8 months and one of the ESPN channels is being broadcast throughout the place. It’s apparently some random College Football show that’s focusing on the University of Florida.

Two things made me want to punch myself in the face.

Part of the show was focusing on who had the best chance to be the Florida quarterback in 2010. Yep, that’s right, there was some “expert” on talking about which player had the best chance to play for the Gators in 2010, or, according to my calculations, about 1.75 years from now. Seriously, this is the best programming ESPN could come up with at 4:30 p.m.? I guess they didn’t have enough time to make 2012 NBA playoff predictions.

Second, during the 30 minutes or so that I was in Sports Clips, I watched/heard the Tim Tebow clip, “No team will play harder….god bless,” not once, but twice. This is roughly the 3,752 time I’ve heard this clip in the past 4 months. It’s time to take that clip outside, shoot it and bury it. How do we make this happen? Seriously, why can’t we get overexposure to a clip like this one from “nice guy” Chris Paul instead?

While we’re on the subject, I’ve got two more questions. I’m a sports fan and the ESPN programming at Sports Clips over a 30 minute span gave me a headache. How long is it before a female Sports Clips employee gets so fed up with the constant sports blathering and takes a pair of scissors and stabs someone in the neck? I’m betting that “going postal” gets replaced with “got sports clipped” sometime in the 21st century. I just hope it’s not me.

Lastly, can’t we, as a society, vote on certain clips, songs, commercials, etc. to have erased from public consciousness? The Tebow clip never needs to be shown again. We have nuclear waste dump sites. Can’t we have an overused pop culture waste center as well? I’m nominating the Tebow clip, along with “Who Let the Dogs Out.” I’m sure we could come up with 100 more right off the bat to get the ball rolling. (Five Dollar Footlong commercials, Lemme lemmme lemme upgrade you commercial, the Macarena, the Bud Light drinkability commercials, any truck commercial, Dennis Leary, the Real World...). I’m sure Graham has got a list as well.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Not so fast, Ocean's 11

I watched Ocean’s 11 last night for the first time in a few years and two things stuck out.

First off, there’s a moment when Linus (Matt Damon) is talking about Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) and he says, “Not bad for a guy that’s worth a quarter of a billion dollars.” Benedict is the owner of three prime Vegas casinos, is he not? And he’s only worth $250 million dollars? Maybe I was mistaken and he said, “3 quarters of a billion dollars,” but even so, according to Wikipedia, the cost of building the Bellagio was 1.6 billion. And this is just one of the three casinos that Benedict owns. Could someone not have done some simple math on this and said, “Maybe we should rewrite that line.” Seriously, how hard would that have been?

Two, the reason that Tess (Julia Roberts) leaves Benedict is because she hears the conversation that Daniel Ocean (George Clooney) has with Terry Benedict after Benedict has been robbed. Ocean asks Benedict if he’d give up Tess to get his $160 million back. Benedict says yes and Tess leaves him. Really Tess, you expected him to say anything different? Regardless of whether he meant it or not, he’d have to say yes to anything to try to get that money back. If Clooney had asked him if he’d perform various sexual acts on farm animals for the money, he’d of said yes to that too. It doesn’t mean he’d do it. He’s just trying to con the con man. Seriously, this is why you’re leaving the guy? C’mon, give me a break.

What does it say about me that I have no problem with any of the robbery plans, as farfetched as they are, but these two minor issues bothered me?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Playoff Preview: Part Deux

It’s Round 2 of the Rocking the Suburbs playoff preview. Maybe this time Graham and I will differ on games.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans
Chris: Whoever bet that either Joe Flacco or Kerry Collins would be starting in the AFC Championship Game at the beginning of the season would be the Nostradamus of this generation. These two teams are identical. Picking the winner of this game is like trying to pick Amy Winehouse out of a crack whore police lineup. Both these teams have crappy QBs, great defenses, good special teams. The only difference I can see if that Titans coach Jeff Fisher has facial hair and the Ravens coach does not. Edge, Titans.

Graham: It’s always fun for fans when an NFL game is decided by the first team to 10 points, as will be the case in this game. I like Tennessee, but I may find other things to do while this game is going on. I do need a haircut this weekend, and I really need to put together that bookshelf the wife and I bought at Ikea last week.

Speaking of Ikea, god I hate that store. The second you walk in, you become a rat in a maze. There’s no freedom to wander around, you have to follow a set path. Of course, they throw so much crap out there the path is only as wide as one shopping cart, so if some rube decides to stop and admire the cabinet shelving display for the kitchen, forget it, you ain’t going anywhere. Then, when you see something you like, you have to write down a code number, head to the warehouse, and load it up yourself.

So I was already pretty bitter as we were leaving the store. Then we get to the parking lot, and in order to fit this thing in the trunk of my wife’s Volvo, we have to move the car seat from the middle seat to the seat behind the driver. So my wife is doing that, I’m tending to the kid while trying to shove this 50-pound bookcase into the trunk, and some lady in a huge SUV decides to park in the spot next to us. There were 25 open parking spots a few feet away, but that’s not good enough for her. So now we have to close the car doors to where there’s a sliver of an opening that sunlight would struggle to get through while loading a bookcase and moving a car seat so this lady can shave 30 seconds off her walk. You know what? Screw you.

Tennessee wins.

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Chris: I’m so mad at myself for not picking the Chargers last week. I knew the Colts would lay an egg. They never play well against San Diego. It’s just so damn hard to bet against Norv Turner, or not. San Diego basically played their title game and Super Bowl at home the last two weeks, beating the rival Broncos to get in the playoffs and beating the uber-soft Colts to move on. The Steelers eat them alive.

Graham: Last week I flippantly dismissed San Diego’s chances against Indianapolis and didn’t even bother with a preview. Folks, it’s that kind of sports analysis that keeps you coming back to Rocking the Suburbs.

There might be a temptation to look at the Chargers coming back from 4-8 to make the playoffs and knocking off Indy without much from LaDainian Tomlinson (who’s quickly becoming the Vince Carter of the NFL when it comes to injuries) and think they can knock off a Pittsburgh team when you don’t what you’re going to get from Ben Roethlisberger, who nearly died on the field a few weeks ago.

To which I say: forget it. Call it a hunch, but I’m pretty sure Darren Sproles, who’s about as big as my left leg, isn’t getting 300+ yards against the Pittsburgh defense. And given they needed every one of those yards to beat Indy, it ain’t happening against Pittsburgh. Steelers take it.

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
Chris: Would you rather have Jake Delhomme or Kurt Warner as your QB? I could labor over this question for about 10 hours and still not come up with the right answer. I do know that I can’t make any sort of rational judgments about DeAngelo Williams. The mancrush is peaking right about now. If DeAngelo and O.J. Mayo somehow ended up at the same party as me, I’d probably have a heart attack figuring out which one I’d rather sleep with, I mean, hang out with, hang out with! To paraphrase the philosopher Napoleon Dynamite, I must do what my heart tells me and pick the Panthers.

Graham: Last week I thought I made a pretty good case why Arizona wasn’t going to beat Atlanta, given they get scored on more than Nautica Thorn. Then they had to go and win. Thanks guys.

But I really like this Carolina team. As good as Arizona is in the air, the Panthers are as good on the ground. And understand, I don’t praise DeAngelo Williams easily. I usually have nothing but enmity towards University of Memphis products. And if the Panthers’ ground game negates the Cardinals’ aerial game then forget it.

And while Carolina’s defense gave up 30+ points in their last two regular season games, I don’t see it happening again. Carolina takes it.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Chris: How the hell does this guy have a Super Bowl ring?

Seriously, how could anyone bet on this guy to win a big game? And how did I find myself cheering for him last winter anyway? Having to cheer for Eli Manning was one of the hardest decisions of my life, probably like that time Queen Latifah decided not to go back for fourths at the all-you-can-eat buffet. That just goes to show you how much people hate the Pats and Boston fans. Call my stupid, but it’s time to grow a pair and pick an upset. I’m going with the Eagles.

Graham: Last week I picked Philly over Minnesota even though I don’t trust them one bit. And you know what? Screw it, I’m taking them this week too. I really don’t like the Giants right now. They seem way too pleased with themselves, and for some reason the usually abrasive New York media is taking it easy on them.

Losing Sweatpants Burress has taken away too much of their offense. For God’s sake, anytime you need big games from Amani Toomer, you know you’re in trouble. Who’s next, Mark Bavaro?

I still don’t love Philly. And I can’t help but think I’m going to regret this when I’m watching Andy Reid trying to call his fourth timeout in the second half this weekend. But I’m just not loving this Giants team. I’m taking Philly.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If this is it, please let me know

Thursday night is the BCS title game. I can’t really remember who’s playing. I’m pretty sure Florida is one of the teams. But whether they’re playing Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota or the University of Regina, I don’t know and I don’t really care. College football is unwatchable, so I don’t concern myself with it.

But it will mark a milestone of sorts. Once the game is over and I settle nicely into a 6th place finish in my bowl pick ‘em pool, that could be the end of my fantasy sports career.

For the past few years, I’ve paid a hefty entry fee to partake in an obsessive league that encompasses March Madness, fantasy baseball, golf, fantasy football, pick ‘ems, the whole thing.

And every year, I do terrible. I made the fantasy football playoffs once, but after a first round bye I flamed out in the semi-finals in a crash so spectacular it made the Kingdome implosion look like a backyard fireworks display.

Another time, I finished third in the bowl pick ‘em, earning myself a nice $10, allowing me to recoup approximately 0.03% of the money I’ve invested in this league over the years.

Frankly, I just don’t know if I can take it anymore. I’m just tired.

Tired of scouring the waiver wires.

Tired of proposing trades to owners afraid of pulling the trigger.

Tired of being offered 4-for-1 trades where someone tries to send me 4 crappy players for my first round pick.

Tired of my March Madness sleeper losing in the first round.

Tired of scoring 320 points in a fantasy football week and losing to someone who scored 322, while someone else wins with 265 points.

Tired of starting fantasy football 1-3 and trying to dig out of the hole.

Tired of watching LenDale White score 3 touchdowns one week when he’s on my bench, and rush for 14 yards and no TDs the next when I start him.

Tired of cursing out Jose Lopez.

Mostly, I’m just tired of the stress. I’m not even sure if I enjoyed myself at all this year. The few victories I did have weren’t even enjoyable. They were mostly just brief reprieves in a season full of gut-wrenching losses. And it’s like this every year. And I just don’t know if I can take it anymore.

I know I won’t walk away from gambling completely. I’ll still bet on every March Madness game with my cousin. The occasional NFL pick ‘em. But I just don’t think I can invest myself in it anymore.

Fantasy sports have become like a job, and like just about any job, there comes a time to walk away. On Thursday night, after that football game between Vermont State and ITT Tech, or whoever the hell it is, it may be that time.

I’ll have a while to decide, the next cycle doesn’t start until March Madness, giving me about two months. But in the past, I’d spend that time jonesing for some fantasy action. Last year, I was happy for the break. Now I wish it was even longer.

Who knows, maybe after this emotional farewell, I’ll pull a Favre and change my mind. And like Favre, my comeback will probably start strong before disintegrating faster than a porn star’s dignity.

I don’t know though. Maybe I need to just put myself out of misery.

I think this is it.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Why Can't We Be Friends?

If you like watching stupid people do stupid things, and I know you do, then do I have the TV show for you. Bromance, Monday night’s on MTV. I even love the description of this show, “Nine contestants are ripped from their beds to compete for the role of Brody Jenner’s best friend.”

I never want to be involved in any sentence that involves the words, “bromance, ripped from the bed and Brody Jenner.”

Here’s my running diary of the first episode (starting at about the 8 minute mark of the show, when I hit the record button).

“Coming up on Bromance, things get a little heated at the hottest party in LA.”

Really, things are going to get heated at the hottest party. Isn’t that what makes it a hot party? It’s not like things would cool off at the hottest party, would it?

So the premise of the first episode is that the 9 dudes that want to have a bromance with Brody have to bring the hottest girls to a party that night. And we’re off…

“This competition is too easy. Talking to hot girls. That’s what I do in my sleep,” says contestant Femi. You talk to hot girls in your sleep? Is that a skill? Are they impressed by that? Do you have narcolepsy? What the hell kind of name is Femi? Femi then gets told “drop dead” by a female about 10 seconds later. Karma.

Chris P. might be my favorite contestant. He’s wearing a polo hat backwards with a bright yellow polo shirt and some madras shorts. He looks like a cross between an Ole Miss frat guy and a Ralph Lauren ad for special people. He then precedes to take his shirt to try to convince some girls to come to the party. They look perplexed.

Chris F. has the right idea. If you need to get shallow girls to come to a retarded celebrity’s party, why would you go anywhere else but Hooters?

Jered, wearing his tank top, spiked gelled hair and two earrings, says this competition plays right to his strength. I hate to tell you this Jered, but the only competition that plays to your strength would be a Trivial Pursuit game with Hansel and Zoolander.

The unintentional comedy scale was shattered as one contestant, wearing no shirt and a sombrero, asks, “How do you spell lingerie?”

As the guys are in their house, walking around topless, I notice there’s a huge ceramic hot dog on one of the walls. First off, do most dudes that have never met just walk around like it’s a locker room? Second, is the hot dog a subliming message? How can I not see three guys in no shirts and a ceramic hot dog and not immediately think “sausage fest.”

I also love MTV’s play on the confessional cam, called the can-fessional, because it’s set up in the bathroom. Stay classy MTV!

Brody now has to meet up with his friends, Frankie and Sleazy T. No comment.

Brody then tells Frankie to be nice to these bromance contestants. One of the most moving moments in TV history occurs as Frankie, choked up, says, “I don’t understand why you need more friends.” Awww, Frankie is scared he’s getting replaced by bromance contestants.

“From what I know about Brody, he lives like the sickest life right now,” Luke says. No comment.

One contestant tells a girl on the phone, “I need you to get here as fast as you can right now.” As opposed to getting somewhere as fast as you can later on?

Brody says, “Gay dudes get all the chicks. I’m gonna start surrounding myself with gay dudes.” Bromance in a nutshell.

Femi says, “Is Michael Jordan going to score. Yes I am.” What the hell does that mean?

“I’ve never been west of Maryland,” Alex says. Isn’t that on the East coast? Can’t you just say you’ve never left the East Coast. Alex probably would answer the question, “How old are you,” by saying, “I’ve never been older than 27.”

Femi just brokedance in the club and said, “I can spin on my dick.” Good to know.

Jered is a lifeguard. Explains everything.

I’ve never heard the word bromance be exchanged so many times in a 5 minute span. It’s not a good thing.

“Tonight was just too real,” Gary says. Yeah, you get free drinks in the middle of Hollywood with a pseudo-celebrity. That’s as real as it gets. “History in the making,” Gary continues. Yeah, the discovery of fire, the birth of Jesus, Pearl Harbor, and the Brody Jenner Bromance Party.

I’m a big fan of Luke’s hat that says, “Luke.” I wonder if he boxers say, “Douche.”

Is there anything worse than having Brody Jenner call you fake?

Michael, the gay contestant, feels uncomfortable with all the other dudes making sexual references so he asks to speak to Brody in private. All the other guys get jealous and think he’s “strategizing” and “trying to get alone time.” Is this really happening?

Poor Michael decides to leave because Bromance wasn’t enough like The Hills. Whoops.

Words you should never say in a room with 9 other guys. “Imagine having sex right here.” Is that an offer? I’m concerned this show might cause me to see some things I won’t be able to unsee.

Is there anything more uncomfortable than watching Brody sit in a hot tub with 8 guys and decide which one doesn’t have the proper Bromance potential.

“If you talk a big game, you have to back it up,” says Brody. Words to live by.

“Real knows real.” What the hell does that mean?

They’re showing some of the clips from upcoming episodes, and let’s just say it involves multiple guys crying. Sign me up. If you need further enticement, here’s a preview below (and typing bromance into youtube and hitting search was one of the scariest moments of my life).


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Playoff Preview

The first annual Rocking the Suburbs playoff preview is coming to you on a National Holiday. While other blogs are taking the day off, we’re not. (We have no life). Happy New Years!

Also, Graham and I have decided to make $1 wagers throughout 2009 and settle up at the end of the year. I’m expecting at least 30 bets. Vegas puts me at a 2-1 favorite given that the majority of bets will be about sports and pop culture and Graham has a disadvantage in both categories, given he’s Canadian and married with a kid. (Too bad we didn’t start the $1 bets with Fantasy Basketball, as my team is still ahead of Graham’s, natch).

Indianapolis at San Diego
Chris: Let’s see, I hate Philip Rivers. However, San Diego matches up well with the Colts. I can’t pick either team and feel good about it. I could see the Colts laying a big egg in San Diego (much like they did at home vs. the Chargers last year), or I could see San Diego showing exactly why an 8-8 team doesn’t even belong in the playoffs. My pick: the Colts, only because I respect myself too much to do otherwise.

Graham: Since I’m positive Indy’s going to win, and I don’t really have anything more to say about it, an aside: as a society, can we please stop asking each other to hold elevators? Seriously, there’s another one coming, don’t freak out. It drives me crazy when I’m standing there, and some spaz turns the corner and starts losing control of their limbs trying to get my attention. You know what that does? It makes me reach for the close door button. I can’t get to it fast enough. Just stop already. Colts win.

Baltimore at Miami
Chris: As someone who has watched 75% of Dolphins games this year, including the Ravens victory over the ‘Phins earlier this year, I’m well aware of how this game will go. The Dolphins offense can’t score on the Ravens D. The Ravens offense won’t score much on the Dolphins D. It’ll come down to special teams (edge Ravens), turnovers and field position. I just don’t see the Dolphins coming out of this game with the W. It reminds me a little too much of Miami’s last playoff game, which, incidentally, was a 20-3 loss at home vs. the Ravens. All of this is thrown out the window if Ray Lewis murders someone between now and kickoff. My pick: sadly, the Ravens.

Graham: I guess it comes down to this: only five times this season has Baltimore given up 20 points or more: against Pittsburgh, Indy, Cleveland, the Giants and Dallas. That’s two first place teams (both Super Bowl contenders), Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, and, uh, the Browns. So how confident am I that Chad Pennington can make it six? I’ll tell you how confident I am: not at all. Baltimore takes it.

Atlanta at Arizona
Chris: Are the Cardinals any good? How many games have they won in the last month? They’re the team that’s overrated because they have so many great fantasy players (just like Cincinnati used to be). Meanwhile, Atlanta just wins games. Can Matt Ryan win a big playoff game on the road? I submit that he can. My pick: the Falcons, only because it’s funny to think about Vick watching Atlanta win while he’s in the slammer.

Graham: The Cardinals went 6-0 this season against their fellow NFC West teams, who were a combined 13-35. In their other 10 games, they went 3-7. Their defense gave up 426 points this year, topped in the NFC only by Detroit St. Louis. It’s fair to say that if you’re comparable to Detroit and St. Louis in any statistical category, you’re in pretty rough shape. I don’t care if Matt Ryan is a rookie quarterback playing his first playoff game on the road. I’m taking Atlanta.

Philadelphia at Minnesota
Chris: I’ve picked 3 road playoff wins already. Can I really think that all 4 road teams will win in the first round? I suppose there’s no way that happens, but I’m not going to pick Tavaris Jackson just to shake things up. Also, does Brad Childress look more like a child molester or serial killer? The pick: the Eagles, because I never trust a coach that looks like the BTK killer.

Graham: I hate this game. The only possible way I could hate this game more is if Jack Johnson were performing the national anthem. For God’s sakes, a couple of weeks ago Donovan McNabb got benched. But on the other hand, you’ve got Tarvaris Jackson, who I’m not even sure I’d trust to lead a touch football game between Biggest Loser contestants. You’ve got Andy Reid, who has shown no actual ability to competently coach a team, and Brad Childress, who looks like an H&R Block accountant, only with less personality. Can I bet on an Andy Reid-coached team? Can I bet on a Tarvaris Jackson-led team? Can I abstain on principle? Honestly, I’m going to hate my pick either way. Hell, I don’t know. Screw it, Philly. Why not.

Well, there you go. The 1st Round predictions, where Graham and I agree on every matchup. Riveting!